July 4, 2008

July 4, 2008 – I cannot find my notes, and I did not write in my journal for much of July, as I was far too busy, but I started my blog one year ago tomorrow, so some of the story about last Independence Day was reported then. I am recreating the day, based primarily on a memory with holes in it – swiss cheese holes – a moth-eaten sweater. I also have no photographs taken that day, at least that I can find. The road was closed, as previously posted.

When I first got a copy of the 409.5 memo on 7/4, I called OES (Office of Emergency Services), and they had a Commander Teter of the MCSO call me back. When I got no satisfactory explanation about the issuance of the memo, other than it was to “educate” the Big Sur community about the power the MCSO had, I was furious. The MCSO was flexing its muscles and declaring a police-state in Big Sur, and fully intended on arresting who ever got in their way.

It was a holiday. Everything was closed. What could I do? The only places open were newsrooms. Having lived and worked in Monterey County, much of that in the justice system, I knew I needed to go outside of the county. I called the LA Times newsroom and the SF Chronicle newsroom. I posted something on surfire2008.org. Before my post was removed from surfire2008, Deborah Schoch, a staff reporter from the LA Times called. After speaking with her for some time, I got her phone numbers, and said I’d pass it on to a member of the Curtis family who was not in Big Sur, and if they wanted, they could pass it on to Micah and Ross. This resulted in more phone calls, and more long conversations with Curtis family members and LA Times reporter, Eric Bailey. Only a few days later, he and Deborah Schoch published a 3-page article about the police state in Big Sur. It is still accessible at:

This was the start of the battle between Big Sur Locals and the Mike Kanalakis, Sheriff of Monterey County. Kanalakis also made the mistake of taking on Cachagua in Carmel Valley. Both were big mistakes.

Thanks to Jim Kimball for archiving posts from surfire2008 and other sources, we have an excellent record of all that happened on this day last year. It was a busy day, with reports from locals coming in up and down the coast all day long. Let’s not forget what it was like to live in this police state from July 3, 2008 to July 8, 2008, when the road opened to locals and their employees, and July 11, 2008 when the road opened completely.

Go to this link, and scroll down. It is arranged as all blogs tend to be, with the older posts first, or backwards chronology. Just scroll down to July 4th and start reading. It is fascinating:


2 thoughts on “July 4, 2008

  1. This is a wonderful series Kate. The Basin Complex story is unique. The more light shed on the incident the better for all of us, the fire service, law enforcement and smaller communities everywhere in the West.

  2. Kate… FIRST: Happy 4th of July! 🙂

    Second… Good entry!

    And 2 days ago we had yet another fire scare. Just south east of our house and on the edge of DelMonte Park (part of Pacific grove), we suddenly in the early afternoon had 2 water bombers flying low over the house and spotter planes. Then we heard the sirens from the firetrucks. Rob took pictures of the planes, but as far as we could tell the planes may not have dumped their water. If they did it was out of sight. With my health failing and my paranoia of forest fires, yet again I got the cats into their crates, the dogs on their leashes and then the important boxes of papers. Plus one duffle bag of our clothes. I think i’m going to leave the boxes & duffle sitting right by the door from now on.

    Kate… I don’t know how much more of these close calls i can take. 😛

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